tv Morning Meeting MSNBC December 17, 2009 9:00am-11:00am EST
blue for the senate health bill. another democrat says count me out. republicans stalling the debate. meantime, is it time to call this version of health reform dead? we'll ask maryland democrat ben carden in the moments to come. meanwhile, he extinguished the flames, but he didn't see the financial fire burning, and he may have helped start it. the arsonist fireman we call our fed chief. the senate committee begins deciding this hour whether the man who gets credit for saving this country is also the man that lit the house on fire. this morning, a democrat joins the opposition to him for that very reason. we'll talk live with the senator who's using his power to make it even harder for the arsonist fireman ben bernanke to get reconfirmed. plus, shut up and text. even the speem court is jumping into the texting debate. what's going on here? has america lost its ability or desire to actually articulate words out of its mouth? the good news is -- or maybe bad news, depending on who you are -- i have not. it's 9:00 a.m.
pull up a chair and join the "morning meeting." our panel this morning, henry bin laden, senator editor. mike viquiera at the white house. and jim miklaszewski will be joining us shortly. democrat jeff merkley joining vermont asindependent senators. john mccain yesterday introducing sweeping bank reform legislation that he is co-sponsoring with democratic senator maria cantwell now says he too is leaning against bernanke's confirmation. what is the case against? >> the case against, as you suggested at the top, is that he kept the policies going that inflated this incredible housing bubble. didn't see anything coming. then when everything crashed, he may have, in fact, saved the
world, but he it d. it by saving and gifting huge amounts of money to wall street without addressing main street. that's the situation we find ourselves in. wall street is in a record year practically. main street, 10% unemployment, just noises. >> the criticism of bernanke, for those who say, oh, he's a hero. he saved us. is that it's real easy to give away an infinite amount of someone else's money. >> this is the key. it is easy. my concern about bernanke is he doesn't have the incredible steel backbone he's going to need to do the next bit, which is, in fact, start to raise interest rates, hurt wall street, how we have this huge unemployment problem. that may be the only way to head off runaway inflation. >> the battle out of d.c. seems to be the focus on the fireman aspect of bernanke. he saved us. he saved us. how could you not love him? he saved us. to try to ignore the arsonist part of the story, how is that going in washington today? >> you mentioned jeff merkley.
he's a freshman democrat from oregon. he's on the banking committee. he's a freshman. he doesn't have to be reelected for six years, dylan. he came out and said he's going to vote against bernanke's confirmation. the foremost critic has been a hold on his nomination. and merkley coming out. the smart money, i'll tell you, is he's going to pass the test in the senate banking committee. there are 23 members on the committee. it goes into the new year. his term expires january 23rd. we're talking about "time's" man of the year. i don't think you should be imputing a man of that caliber. >> do we impugn him or give him a congressional medal of hour? onward we go. $26 is apparently all you need to get inside information on the american operations of its drones in iraq. i'll repeat that, $26. that is the amount of money you need, check your pockets, if you
would like to get inside information about the whereabouts and activities of united states military drones in iraq. militants reportedly using this low cost software to intercept live feeds from u.s. drones, which are the unmanned fighting machines that we operate from las vegas by way of remote control. the military says there is no evidence that insurgents have been able to cause any problems so far, but officials say they have found days and hours of proof that information was being intercepted by the wrong people. jim, what's going on here? >> the u.s. military has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to develop this high flying technology, but the militants are getting this software off the shelf in which they can attach it to their laptops and download that live video stream. now, here's why it's important. for example, when the u.s. military took out abu musab zarqawi, the chief al qaeda leader in iraq, they spent several days, actually about two
weeks, using these drones to keep an eye on one of zarqawi's contacts. they eventually followed that contact to zarqawi and were able to take him out. if they'd had that software then, they could have circumvented that entire operation and told that contact to stay put. that's the problem here. now, they can fix it by encrypting all the video. some is already encrypted. that's going to take some time, and it's not going to be cheap. >> does it cost more than $26 to encrypt all the video? >> you can bet it will. >> thank you, mick. here's another one for you. sarah palin. i'm sorry about this. jonathan capehart, i can't help myself. the woman can't escape the fashion police. photographers snapped these pictures. we'll show you in a second. the vacationing former governor wearing a mccain campaign visor. these obviously are not those pictures. eventually you'll see them and know what i'm talking about.
mccain's name was blacked out on the visor with a marker. instead of wearing another visor, she wore a visor that had mccain-palin on it and put blackout over it. there it is. palin says it's no slam toward her former running mate. she was trying to look incognito and maybe saving a couple of bucks and trying to buy a new visor, so she blacked it out. you buy that, jonathan? >> come on. how much money did she get in her advance? how much was her advance? is she's at a resort clearly because she's on the beach. what, there's no gift shop? >> incognito, man. >> there's no hot pink visor. >> enough with your consumer mentality, capehart. she's recycling. >> this is a poor way to recycle. this is just ridiculous. let's move on. >> i have to do a palin story every so often just so i can enjoy. >> just to rile me up. >> just so i can make sure jonathan's had his coffee. progressives, most notably howard dean, but not only howard
dean, saying insurance companies are winning health care battle, going so far to say the current version of legislation is a bigger bailout for the health insurance industry than the one provided by ben bernanke to aig in the financial crisis. and another democrat says he too will jump ship. we'll talk with senator ben cardin of maryland about whether this bill is dead in the water or whether the president can illustrate a path forward for the party he leads. plus senator bernie sanders of vermont now saying he's not voting for this bill either. we'll talk to him later in the hour about that. and whether the fed chair ben bernanke ought to keep his job and the path forward for finance and insurance in this country. are they creating false reforms in both categories of health care and banking but protecting the money machine that is health insurance and bank derivatives. we're back after this. so is campbell's healthy request soup. low in fat and cholesterol, heart healthy levels of sodium, and taste you'll love.
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republican resistance and democrats' ability to line up 50 votes for a proposal that would line up for people and cost less for health care, may force the senate to delay plans for a health vote at all by christmas. that after wednesday's debate was brought to a screeching halt when independent senator bernie sanders pushed for a debate on a single payer system. oklahoma republican tomko burn responded, calling his bluff, by asking for all 767 pages of the amendment to be read. you can imagine it was compelling. if you don't want to use your imagination, here's a brief sample. >> for home and community base long-term care services to payments for nursing facilities, services, as the board determines to be more consistent with the goal of providing cost effective long-term care in the most appropriate and least restrictive setting.
section 1104, exclusions and limitations. >> these people are working for us. you pay their salaries. you bought that building. fun times. three hours later they still had six hours of reading to go through. even sanders couldn't take it anymore. he threw in the towel and withdrew his amendment. >> people could have honest disagreements, but in this moment of crisis, it is wrong to bring the united states government to a halt. >> well, what's more, just a few hours later, senator sanders sid right now he won't vote for the current bill at all. we'll talk to him a little bit later in this hour. sanders, by the way, not the only holdout by a long shot. up to this point, hairy reid's biggest headache has been senator ben nelson, who won't budge until he gets tougher abortion restrictions, again looking to use the health care reform debate as an opportunity to further restrict abortion in private insurance plans. why wouldn't you? as the two hammer out a compromise, the president was back on tv, reminding people of
the cost of doing nothing. >> your premiums will go up. your employers are going to load up more costs on you. potentially they're going to drop your coverage because they just can't afford an increase of 25%, 30% in terms of the cost of providing health care to employees each and every year. >> so the risk of doing nothing scary, but apparently not as scary as doing the wrong thing to solve it. white house senior adviser david axelrod saying on "morning joe" that, in his opinion, it would be tragic for liberals to torpedo the bill and that criticisms by howard dean and others is predicated on a burnc of erroneous conclusions. he didn't get ultimate into that. here's the problem. a new nbc news/wall street journal poll shows that for the first time americans prefer the status quo to this bill. i doubt whether anybody in america could tell you exactly what this bill does, so the poll kind of cracks me up. 44% say it's better if the bill doesn't pass. i would love to know what percentage of the people have a clue what's in this bill.
joining us now, maryland democratic senator ben cardin has expressed concerns about whether a bill without a public option can put pressure on insurance companies. senator cardin, we welcome you. what is your perspective, and what ought our perspective be on this process at this point? >> well, it's good to be with you this morning. let me tell you, i'm disappointed, like many others, that we haven't made more progress on a public option. i think that would help bring down costs and offer more competition for people looking for insurance. i must tell you, the underlining bill is so important. the current status is not where we are today. if we don't do anything, it's just going to continue to get worse, as the president has said. this bill, the underlining bill is going to provide universal coverage for just about every american to have affordable health care. it's going to bring down the cost of health care in america. that's not what i'm saying. that's what the congressional budget office is saying. 31 million more americans covered by insurance. the cost for most people's health insurance going down, having a better product because we take on the health insurance
industry with protection against preexisting conditions, and other types of protections to the consumers. this is important to get done. >> howard dean today in "the washington post" wrote the following. this is an excerpt. he says i know health reform when i see it, and there isn't much left in the senate bill. i reluctantly conclude that, as it stands, this bill would do more harm than good to the future of america. why -- what does he see that he sees differently than what you see? >> i remember meeting with governor dean in the '90s when we were fighting to get universal coverage, to have affordable coverage for all americans. this bill has it. >> i guess that. but howard dean is saying point blank -- howard dean has said a couple of things. one, it's a bigger bailout for the insurance companies because the law mandates customers are forced to buy health insurance
without wreak breaking the insurance monopoly. basically, you're creating forced customers without forcing the seller, which is the insurance company, to be subject to open market competition and a full marketplace. you are not only creating not a public option but you're not creating a widely available pool of private insurance choices to everybody in america as you have in congress. i recognize this was done to leave the employer-based system intact. this is being done to leave the insurance monopolies intact, but why is the best way to proceed with health insurance and health care reform to leave the insurance monopolies in oligopolies intact and leave the employer-based system intact? and instead of retracting the billions of deficiencies that exist in the reality, in breaking that, instead of doing that, you find yourselves dancing around the perimeter and having to have this sort of back and forth. why do you think that is? why is that the decision? >> i don't think we're dancing around the perimeters. look, i share governor dean's
disappointment. i want to see a strong robust public option to bring down costs. but don't underestimate the importance of reforms that are in this bill with private insurance companies, that they no longer can deny you coverage because of preexisting conditions, they can't arbitrarily cancel your policies. they have to eliminate arbitrary caps. a lot more transparency. the impact that exchanges will have on more competition. there's a lot in this bill. yes, i'm disappointed. but this bill is extremely important to get done so that we can, in fact, not be the only industrial nation ft world that doesn't believe that health care is a right. >> understood. we're also the only industrial nation in the world that's trying to reform health care while protecting a predatory insurance monopoly and a health care system that dates to 1942 when it's 2010. there's been a lot of technol y technology. >> i'm with you on that. i want a public option. >> i'm not saying option. i'm saying break the monopoly and give us competition of any kind. >> that's what a public option helps to do.
>> you can do it without the public option. >> you are correct. we have a monopoly today in maryland. 71% of marylanders are insured by only two companies. we've got to change the status quo. this bill starts us in the direction. and also understand, this isn't the end of the debate. if we get the bill done this year, we put in place a framework that we can build on in future years that will are provide more competition for consumers. >> understand. i hope that's true. your thoughts on a series of amendments that seek to, again, break some of the monopolies, create more choices not just for employers, but for their workers to leave the employer-based plan and participate on the exchanges. creates a catastrophic coverage option for those who feel they would like to basically take personal responsibility for their primary care. your thoughts on that set of amendments. >> i think there's a lot of good amendments. i have some amendments that will provide more patient rights against private insurance companies. i hope that we will be able to get those amendments incorporated in the bill. so i agree. i think there are a lot of good amendments out there that can advance this bill. >> do you think the health
insurance companies have gamed this such that they have now basically maintained the integrity of their central monopoly on the employer-based system? >> the only way that private insurance companies win is congress does nothing. they're going to be very happy to see this bill go down. we need to provide more competition. this bill does. can we do better? absolutely. i hope we do better. >> senator cardin, thank you so much for engaging in the conversation with us this morning. thank you, sir. joining us right now, jane hampshire publisher of firedog.com. she says they need to share the blame for where the health care is in this country. and bruce reid says the health care bill has the potential to get stronger as the debate goes on. bruce, what would you need to see to make this bill feel strong enough that you actually believe the insurance monopoly and the employer-based health care system and all the rest of it hasn't basically been left intact with a lot of window dressing around the edges? >> i think it's a good bill. i think this is a historic
opportunity -- >> why do you think that? >> i think it's a good -- for many of the reasons senator cardin said. it covers 94% of americans. it reforms the insurance market. it reduces the deficit. it will save a lot of people money. also, don't underestimate the importance of these exchanges that the bill sets up. that's the place where we're going to see choice and competition. >> i understand that. no one can use them unless they don't have a job. if i wanted to buy a health care plan on the exchange as a private insurance company, as an employee at ge or one of our producers on a weaker health care plan than i have because they're not a big tv host like me and apparently regive out better health care depending on what your job is in this country, they wouldn't be able to buy a better health care plan either. jane, i'm curious what you would need to see in order to feel there's real reform in health care. >> number one, i question that 94% of the people are covered. what's happening is they're being forced to buy insurance
from insurance companies that can then pay that money. 30%, as howard dean says in "the washington post" this morning, to multibillionaire ceos. >> what's so wrong with the government mandating the creation of new customers for health insurance companies as long as the health insurance companies aren't forced to compete and are protected by the government? it sounds like a real win if i run an insurance company. i've got new customers and no competition. >> i'm curious to see how they think this is not a win for the insurance companies, having the government mandate 40 million new customers for you and using the irs to enforce penalties if you don't pay 8% of your income. i don't know how that's not a win. >> you leave the insurance monopoly intact. it would be one thing if you forced everybody to participate, which there's a rational argument for a mandate because everybody ultimately would need health care, but mandating everyone to buy into an unreformed predatory monopoly makes you wonder what country you live in, jane. >> as you know, ben nelson --
they were going to try to take away the antitrust exemption for the insurance companies in this bill, but as the price of getting his cloture vote, ben nelson made them take it out. >> i don't know. it's brilliant. >> it is. david axelrod is this morning saying, why are the insurance companies fighting this so hard? they're not. they got what theyn't waed. there is no public option competing. all the money goes to them. that's what they wanted. >> and they don't have to compete on the exchange. people like myself can't leave my current insurance plan and go onto the exchange and buy health care although i'm welcome to buy whatever car insurance i want, which strikes me as a little bit insane. i thank you both for your time. up next at the "morning meeting." time for a reality check. as this was not intended as such, this next segment surely is. the administration talks a heck of a good game about freeing up credit to america's hard hit small businesses while they legalize the banking system to do anything but. lots of speculation with other people's money. very little banking. sounds like a lot of talk once
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welcome back. it's been nine months since the obama administration started poking and prodding at banks to start lending to small businesses again after ledding the $23 billion to pay off the banks' bad debts over the last three years and keep the whole thing from melting. the refrain goes a little something like this. >> all across the country, they are people who are working hard and meeting their responsibilities every single day without the benefit of government bailouts or multimillion dollar bonuses. you've got a bunch of small business people here who are struggling just to keep their credit line open. all they ask is that everyone from main street to wall street to washington play by the same rules. that is an ethic that we have to demand. >> now, bear in mind he's
talking to the same people who changed the law in '99 and 2000 to allow them to gamble wildly, $30, $40 in some cases for every dollar that they had. the dollars that they had were other people's money, not their own money. they lost it. the taxpayer paid it out in order to pay off their bad bets. they kept the compensation for the past ten years, and they're keeping the compensation from this year. and the government continues to give money away. that obama speech there was on march 16th. it was a speech to small business owners and community bankers at the white house. but just where have the shame and campaign and pleas gotten us? here's a reality check. according to a huffington post analysis of treasury data released this week, our nation's four biggest banks have cut loans to businesses by more than $100 billion during the past six months. other analysis shows the
startling translation for small businesses in particular. an $11.6 billion reduction in credit for small business in america since april from the 22 banks who received the most taxpayer t.a.r.p. cash. we all know the t.a.r.p. money is a pittance compared to the support we're providing to the banks from the federal reserve and other programs. economists suggest a whole host of rationalizations from increased loan demand to banks protecting their balance sheets. remember the banks are protecting their balance sheets from the losses made gambling over the past ten years with other people's money. they're protecting it with your money. firms like bank of america say, wait until next year. $5 billion is just around the corner. politicians say, oh, they'll do it soon enough. as i said before, and i'll say it again, congress, mr. president, you are dealing with greedy bankers.
appeals to their hearts, to their minds, or their morals will are not yield returns. but actually using the government to make it illegal for the custodians of our wealth, other people's money, our bank deposits, our insurance premiums, to make it illegal for them to gamble with our money, where the taxpayer covers the losses, which to this day you refuse to do, that might actually produce change we can believe in. hope springs eternal, and we're back after this.
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fed chairman ben bernanke as we discussed at the top of the show, finds out today if he gets a shot at another four-year term. even if the senate banking committee approves his renomination, he would still need a full 60 votes to confirm him ultimately in the senate. he'll be looking for a time -- or he'll be looking at them at a time when lawmakers are lining up to pin blame on bernanke for fueling the economic crisis with cheap money for years prior, for them missing the warning signs with predictions like housing prices are unlikely to go down, remain stable, all these different things. and then finally, when the whole thing blew up, in february of this year, after months of convulsions and the dow going from 14,000 to 6,000, bernanke finally came out and explicitly guaranteed the delivery of unlimited amounts, literally
infinite amounts of taxpayer dollars to our nation's biggest banks with essentially no strings. we obviously know they're simply using the money to speculate and/or buy treasuries and lend the money back to america. that guarantee of infinite money to the banks to do with what they pleased stands to this day. that's why they're so profitable. in the meantime, the dollar continues its fall as our currency and future wealth of our nation and our tax base has been forced by our policy makers to absorb all of the bad bets made by the bankers to try to enrich themselves over the last ten years. the bankers meanwhile continue to reap record profits from their windfall state support and have retained all of their earnings from the past ten years on a personal level having created this giant gambling parlor with your money, other people's money, and then the insurance scam that was run at aig insuring that future repayment of everybody's bills
with absolutely no money. taxpayer paid it off. independent senator bernie sanders has been leading the anti-bernanke crusade. here's what he said as recently as yesterday. >> all of the objective evidence suggests that he has not done a good job in this enormously important position, and i am requesting that president obama give us a new nominee. >> sanders making those comments on the same day "time" magazine named bernanke its person of the year, praised him for making the moves that averted an even worse economic disaster. that specific move in february, the delivery of an infinite amount of taxpayer money to the banks to do with what they please in order to pay off their bad bets and prevent the system from melting. he surely put out the fire, but was he one of the chief arsonists? one of his chief critics on the banking committee, jim bunting, says time is rewarding bernanke for fame you're. -- failure.
democratic senator jeff merkley says he will vote against the nomination as well. senator mccain says he is leaning that way as well. he talked with maria cantwell yesterday to rule out canned we will-mccain to reaffirm glass spiegel. and the investment of that capital or deployment of that capital in a private setting. joining us now, vermont's independent senator bernie sanders. senator sanders, what -- for those who would want this man reappointed, for those who would call this man the person of the year, what do they fail to understand about his history in creating this crisis? >> they fail to understand that the most important job of the fed is protecting the safety and soundness of our financial institutions. and in that regard, there is no debate, zero debate. chairman bernanke failed.
he was asleep at the switch while wall street engaged in reckless, illegal gambling like behavior, which drove this country into the worst recession since the 1930s. it is incomprehensivible to me that with a record like that this guy should be reappointed. >> the headline again -- that's why i call him the arsonist fireman. the fireman saves the kids, and the fireman did save the kids. the system didn't melt. again, pretty easy. you deliver an infinite supply of money, everyone thinks you're the man. you're daddy warbucks. >> that's absolutely right. i've got to tell you something. i'm a member of the budget committee. when ben bernanke came before the budget committee, i asked him point blank, tell us the names of the financial institutions that received trillions of dollars of zero interest loans. he said, sorry, i can't tell you that. that is why we put in legislation to bring transparency to the fed. you talk about small businesses not getting loans. he has the power to do that, to
provide loans to small business so we can create decent paying jobs. failed banks that were bailed out are charging americans today 25% or 30% interest rates on their credit cards. that is obscene. he has the power to stop that. three out of the four largest financial institutions that were bailed out because they were too big to fail, you know what, they are bigger today. he has the power to stop breaking up these financial institutions. so to reappoint somebody who named this guy man of the year is to me totally absurd. we need a new direction on wall street and in the fed as well. >> i'm curious your sense to the degree to which you in the senate and others in the legislative body understand this that, as long as it's more profitable for a bank to take free money from the federal reserve and gamble with it and/or buy treasuries with it and as long as it is legal for me as a bank ceo to acquire the assets of others, either as deposits or insurance premiums
and then leverage my money against that 20 or 30 to 1, i will never lend money to a small business because, quite frankly, sir, it does not pay nearly as well, which is why these loopholes were created in the first place because of commercial lending, because of technology has become a low paying event, and banchers are used to being rich. >> i think your analysis is exactly right. by the way, i applaud you for doing programs like this because we're seeing far too little of this type of discussion. i don't think here in congress it's so much whether people understand it or not. i think they do. i think what you've really got to look at is the extraordinary power of wall street, the amounts of money they have. when they make these huge profits, when ceos earn hundreds of millions of dollars of a year, what they do is use some of that money to lobby and campaign contribute in order to perpetuate the status quo. as you know, against my very strong opposition when i was in the house.
wall street spends some $5 billion over a ten-year period to deregulate. alan greenspan, robert rubin, these guys could do whatever they want. >> again, the banks are like the police. we give them special privileges, as they are the police or the custodian of our security. we let them carry guns. the banks are the custodians of other people's money. that's different than a trader or somebody using their own money. they're given a special privilege. they're exploiting it. speaking of which, i want to move to health care briefly. we're working a lot of subjects in a relatively brief period of time. howard dean yesterday compared this health care bill mandating new health insurance customers without breaking up the insurance monopoly, without introducing a public option or any other competitive aspect is a bigger bailout for the insurance companies than the one that ben bernanke provided to aig and goldman sachs. do you agree with that?
>> i was on the floor of the senate yesterday fighting for a medicare for all single payer system, which to the best of my knowledge is the only way you're going to provide comprehensive universal cost effective health care to all americans. the legislation now before the senate has some good things. it has some very significant weaknesses. and where i am at this moment is trying to make a deal, which has a whole lot of different problems, better. right now i am dealing with the white house, dealing with the democratic leadership, trying to make this bill as good as it can possibly be. >> what everyone is looking for is a path forward that doesn't just achieve a false victory of appearing to pass a piece of legislation, but a real victory which not only adds coverage but does all that. you know the list. where does that pass? >> it is not my view that passing anything is better than passing nothing. on the other hand, you have tens of millions of people who are uninsured, underinsured, and
people are dying because they're not getting to a doctor when they should. so that's kind of where i am right now. >> don't we have the same problem with health care, senator sanders, that we do with the banks. which is that you have these huge financial institutions, which in this case are health insurance companies as opposed to bank insurance companies. it's the same exact scenario who have no moply predatory structure, have incredible clout in washington, d.c., and so we watch politicians scramble wildly to appear to reform, as we are watching with the banks and the house of representatives right now, while leaving loopholes and carveouts to insure the future profitability of a system which in this case dates back to 1942 with health care. how long can america stand this? >> the answer is you're right. that's why i was on the floor trying to bring forward what i believe is the only rational solution, and it does what virtually every other major country on earth does. and that is say that health care is a right, not a privilege. what it says is that we need a medicare for all system.
and we have to get rid of the private insurance companies. that's the only cost effective way you provide comprehensive quality care to all people. but i got to tell you, i got to tell you, there ain't a lot of support for that in the senate or the house. not only that, my concern for that is assuming that radical of a position on the other side of the room, you ensure the ability to retain the predatory monopoly as opposed to simply breaking the monopoly, forcing them to compete. then perhaps you are correct. the polarity allows the monopoly to retain its position because the opposition is to far away. >> i'm not sure i agree with you. the essence of what a private insurance company is is to make as much money as it possibly can. our own system wastes about $400 billion every single year. in terms of administrative costs for thousands of separate insurance programs out there. each designed to make a profit. incredible waste and bureaucracy. >> understand. listen, senator sanders, always
a pleasure. thanks for the time. >> thank you. >> senator bernie sanders out of vermont. straight ahead here on the morning meeting. is texting the new talking? well, it may darn well be, at least to the supreme court who's jumping into this. one cop's texting on the job. a new application that lets you taxt. maybe it's atxting. text and walk. where does it end? should it end? do you talk or do you text? is it a trend, or is it a talker? we'll figure that out. [ male announcer ] hear that?
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and pop culture expert, with a title like that by definition, he is the cutting edge, toure. are you guys on? >> okay. i was a little busy. you're interrupting me. >> first up, forget freedom of speech. is the supreme court going to tackle the right to text? the court agreed on monday to rule on a case involving messages sent by a police sergeant on a government pager. his lieutenant ordered transcripts of the text after the california sergeant went over his monthly quota. yes, there were some sexts. but the question before the court, did the police department violate constitutional prif vi rights by inspecting the correspondence? what do you say, henry? >> it's a government pager. they own it. they can look at anything. if they were simply looking at overages, then possibly they did. >> wasn't there a point in your life where they found e-mails from you on an institutional platform? >> i am quite familiar with this problem. >> so it is theirs. >> it is theirs. >> you knew. next, do you text more than you
talk? if so, according to the census bureau, texting is on the rise while time spent on the cell phone is on the decline. americans punching out more than 110 billion texts in december of '08. that's double the number sent during the exact same period only a year ago in '07. meantime, the average length of a cell phone call has gotten a bit shorter over the years, down from 3.05 minutes. that's right. .05 minutes. to 2.3 minutes. what's 2.3 minutes? is that 2 minutes and 30 seconds? >> 20 seconds. >> one-third of a minute, 20 seconds. >> 2.33 minutes. so it's one-third of a minute. thank you. i used to be in the math business. but texting, friends, be warned. a couple recent studies suggest all typing linked to nearsightedness. you wave it off, touray but wait till your shoulders and hands hurt, text thumb. >> i'm too young for that last.
>> we know texting while driving is dangerous. texting while walking can be just as bad. especially if you're crossing on a red light. running into people. mailboxes. fire hydrants. walls. now apple has an application for that. the iphone's type and walk app lets you see where you're going while texting. it's kind of like looking through the phone. imagine a camera -- you get it. you can see it right there. so with that problem out of the way, trend or talker? >> trend. >> right? >> this is a definite trend. i don't have to say hi, how are you? what's going on with you? >> it's more convenient. >> i can go, tell me where to go. okay. end of conversation. love it. >> no talkback. >> this is the breakdown -- >> what about the loss of humanity, what about the community, what about sitting around and having a conversation, looking henry in the eye and saying how are you doing, henry? >> it's about delivering the message. >> quicker, faster. >> it's breaking down our humanity, touray. >> it is. we don't have the same social
connections but i don't have to talk to you. how's your wife and kids? give me the message. bye. >> that's why we're busy screwing each other because nobody cares about human beings anymore. it's just about the data. i don't know their name. >> tiger's the king of texting, so there you go. >> you force engagement, it's harder to screw people over. it's harder to screw somebody over that you actually know their name and look at them. >> and you like them. >> if you're a ceo and go, take the money, whatever it is. that's my whole thing with do we care about children whose names we don't know? >> that's right. >> i don't know if we do. anyway, up next, what can the u.s. learn from queen elizabeth? after this. it's another cold one out there. better cover up those hands, or they'll be in for a dry spell. [ male announcer ] dawn hand renewal with olay beauty. it helps your hands seal in moisture while you do the dishes. [ sponge ] who could have predicted that? [ male announcer ] dawn does more... [ sponge ] so it's not a chore. it's time for holiday bargain hunting.
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was against your will, ongoing, in fact. well, those ceos had a meeting with the president a couple days ago, but they missed it because they say they were stuck on a foggy tarmac. again, these men only fly on private airplanes and if there's fog, they don't travel. a lot of us thought to ourselves, why wouldn't they have taken the train? i explained that because the train is jonbenet not a private airplane. it's going to make you even richer than you already are. for no reason. but why bother? anyway, speaking of the train, you'll never guess who is hopping aboard the train. take a look at these pictures. this here, again, not as prominent, not as powerful obviously as a bank ceo, but britain's queen, queen elizabeth, riding the rails alongside her fellow brits. again, she's of a lesser status, obviously, than the ceo of someplace like goldman sachs. of course, she made sure to keep up appearances, relaxing in
first class and sitting in the window there, maybe have a little meal. now, think about this for a second before we wrap this up. first, a windfall tax on bank bonuses out of england. and now the queen taking the train? maybe we could learn something from the brits. who knew? that will do it for today. i am dylan and contessa brewer picks up for you right now right here, and our conversation continues, as it does every day, on twitter@dylan ratigan. contessa. oly moly!!! what just hap...whoa! grill: i mean...wow! hey! that looks great. grill: and there's no need to discuss it further. in fact, you can buff most of that out. just give it a once-over with a wet paper towel...hee, hee grill: ok, good talking to you... anncr: accidents are bad. anncr: but geico's good. ding! with 24-hour claims service.
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downward spiral. and is santa a good role model? why one public health expert says no, no, no. good thursday, everyone, i'm contessa brewer. we have a busy morning here at msnbc, so let's get right to it. first the breaking news we're following to us from cincinnati, ohio, and our affiliate, wcnc from charlotte, north carolina, has confirmed that the bengals receiver, the cincinnati bengals receiver, chris henry, has been killed from injuries he suffered after falling out of a pickup truck. the police say he was fighting with his fiancee when she took off in a pickup truck, he reportedly jumped in the back of that track. and at some point while the fiancee was driving was tossed from the pickup, was injured badly, taken to the hospital with critical injuries, fighting for his life, and now the word just coming into us from our charlotte nbc affiliate wcnc that chris henry, the bengals' receiver, has died from those injuries. more in the half hour on this.
we are now looking at a new situation in utah where police are certainly frustrated and upset with the husband of a missing woman. they say he's unusually uncooperative, and they are naming him a person of interest in susan powell's disappearance. nbc's miguel almaguer is live from west valley city, utah, with the latest for us. miguel, what are you learning about the new developments in this case? >> reporter: well, contessa, there are reports that came out late last night that police have recovered a notebook that belongs to susan powell. that may have some leads for investigators to follow. but investigators are being tight-lipped about exactly what they have found. police won't confirm or deny that report. as you mentioned, susan powell has been missing for more than 11 days. and as every day goes on, police and her family worry more about the woman who disappeared back on december 7th. of course, some of the focus of this investigation has shifted over to her husband, josh powell, who was named a person of interest yesterday. he was, of course, told investigators that he last saw
his wife the morning of december 7th at 12:30 a.m. he decided to take his two young kids camping in the middle of the snowstorm. police have never been able to verify that story. and after questioning them once and asking him to come back for questioning a second time, he retained a defense attorney. and police have said ever since that, he hasn't been forthcoming with information. they say he's been reluctant to talk to investigators, and they have big concerns about his story. and basically bottom line, contessa, they want to sit him down and have an in-depth conversation with him. and they say right now joshua powell is not doing that, which is why he is a person of interest in this case, contessa. >> miguel, thank you. search teams in oregon have quit looking for two missing hikers. snowstorms and threats of avalanches kept rescuers off the mountain the past few days. officials will try to discover the climbers once the weather clears up. the body of a third climber was found saturday. breaking news on the jobs front. jobless claims unexpectedly rose to 480,000 last week, signaling continued weakness in the labor
sector. it's up 7,000 from the previous week and is the worst performance than economists had expected. looking at the wall street numbers, the dow jones is down 90 points on the morning. the s&p off by 10.37 and the nasdaq dropped 22.5. a big story on capitol hill, a vote on fed chairman ben bernanke. the senate banking committee is meeting right now. lawmakers are voting whether to recommend bernanke for a second term as fed chairman. several senators on the committee are opposed. they argue bernanke failed to intervene in the housing crisis and didn't see the banking crisis develop. his supporters say we saved the nation from a massive economic depression. if the committee votes to recommend him as it's expected to do, the full senate will vote on his confirmation. president obama is facing so many challenges, wars in two country, an economic crisis, a health care overhaul. so this one pales in comparison. but it's tough for anybody to see those declining poll numbers. certainly it doesn't make the president's job easier to solve
those big problems. for the first time nbc news and "the wall street journal" find the president's approval rating dropping below 50%. americans are now essentially split 47% to 46%. nbc's mike facara is at the white house. is this the kind of thing that concerns the white house? >> reporter: well, i don't think they'd admit that in the public but they're mindful of the polls. they're coming back to earth as the papers have just reported just yesterday. let's look at some of these numbers, contessa. the president's health care plan now just 32% of americans according to the poll think it's a good idea. 47% say a bad idea. 17%, no opinion. hard to believe. party approval. democrats, 35% positive. 45% negative. gop, 28% positive, 43% negative. the direction of america, right track, very low number here. 33%. wrong track, 55%. the white house, the jobless
rate still very much of concern. they've treated reporters, robert gibbs and some other officials last night, to an off-camera briefing talking about the efficacy of the stimulus. they maintain that it has worked, and the cbo backs up the fact that up to 1.6 million jobs are been saved or created. there's the ongoing health care debate. mitch mcconnell, the republican leader in the senate, said the longer that's on the floor, the more the american people are against it. and you've seen what republicans are doing. they're trying to slow down this debate, perhaps mindful of the dynamic mcconnell is talking about, certainly borne out in some of the polls we've been seeing the tracking of the public's approval rating. you're right, there's a lot of activity in washington, trying to race to get so many things done before christmas. they are -- the house of representatives is already gone. the senate voting on bernanke struggling. >> mike, thank you. guantanamo bay could be completely closed as early as the summer according to attorney general eric holder. holder says the government's purchase of a prison in illinois to hold some of the gitmo detainees will help close the
facility in cuba. remember, the president originally wanted to see guantanamo bay closed by january, but the attorney general now says it's likely before the end of next summer. the top military officer is getting a front-line view of the war in afghanistan. admiral mike mullen, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, is visiting a base where u.s. forces have taken heavy losses since arriving in august. 21 soldiers from the army's 1st battalion 17th infantry have been killed since then. 40 others injured. mullen told the troops the key to defeating the taliban is to focus on protecting major population areas and making sure afghans can travel freely. approved today that america's war in afghanistan doesn't stop with the border. we have images from a u.s. drone reportedly carrying out an attack on militants inside pakistan. let's get the report from jim miklaszewski at the pentagon. what do you know, jim? >> reporter: pakistani officials are telling nbc news in pakistan that there were as many as seven
drones that perhaps launched as many as ten hellfire missiles at targets inside the area of north waziristan, killing two militants. now, if those numbers hold up and they're often exaggerated by the pakistanis, that would be the biggest single u.s. missile strike inside pakistan aimed apparently at some militants. we have no confirmation that two militants were killed or who they may be. but if there were that many involved in this attack, that would indicate it would be a very high-value target. now, just last week, a u.s. drone took out the top operational commander for al qaeda. in that same essentially -- in that same vicinity of pakistan, but also the u.s. drones have been aiming their attacks at taliban inside pakistan that pose a threat to the pakistani government. we're still trying to chase down the truth about all this and get some facts about how many missiles were launched and who it was that may or may not have
been killed in this attack. but, again, if those numbers hold up, this would indicate it would be a very high-value target, contessa. >> and do we know whether pakistan invited the united states to do that? are they cooperating with these attacks, or are these going in and trying to take care of business? >> reporter: well, officially the pakistanis see this as an affront, a violation of their sovereignty. unofficially behind the scenes, the pakistanis are informed of most of these attacks in advance. and they are cooperating with the u.s. in terms of sharing intelligence. particularly because they now see not necessarily al qaeda itself but they see the taliban in pakistan and parts of al qaeda as a threat to their government and stability. so that's why they have increased their cooperation with the u.s. in regard to these attacks. but the pakistanis, while protesting in public and private have always signed on to these
attacks. >> jim, thank you very much. coming up, more on the breaking news we're following this morning. nfl star receiver chris henry has died from injuries he suffered. police are calling the fight that led up to his death a domestic dispute with his fiancee. also ahead, the nation's health secretary holding a news conference right now on swine flu. are we out of the woods, or is a third wave looming? we'll be right back on msnbc. that is a ton of pepperoni. ( cracking, crash ) that was delivered fast! it's not delivery and we'd like it back.
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henry jumped in the back of the pickup truck. and at some point was dumped from the pickup truck, fell out and was taken to the hospital with critical injuries to which he has now succumbed. let's go to clive woodson who is a reporter with "the charlotte observer." can you add more details now to this story? >> a few. a few. police have confirmed that homicide investigators are looking into the case. that's fairly typical with any violent death that happens here in charlotte. police said yesterday that no charges would be filed on wednesday, but we're not sure if they expect charges, or if so, when they would do so. >> do you know at this point whether there's a history of domestic issues with the player, chris henry, and his fiancee? >> we don't have any reports of that. a reporter that went to the house was unable to ascertain that from the family. and there's nothing in either of their criminal backgrounds that
would indicate that. we ran records on both of them last night. >> and so he was taken to the hospital yesterday. do you know how long he's been engaged, when he was planning to get married? >> i believe the team said that they planned to marry in march. he's been here since he was on injured reserve in november. and the mother said -- her mother said last night that they had been in ongoing talks about the wedding, making wedding plans. >> okay. and, again, he was injured in march. he broke his arm during a game and had been pretty much ended the season because he got put on the injured reserve list at that point. and now chris henry has died after that fall from a pickup truck. cleve, thank you so much. an update right now on the swine flu outbreak. health and human services secretary kathleen sebelius and senior hhs officials are speaking now at the national press club in washington, d.c., providing updates on the next phase of the h1n1 outbreak. nbc's chief science
correspondent, robert bazell, joins me. where do we stand on swine flu in >> well, right now, as we've been reporting, there's a lull in the cases. there was a peak that was hit around the end of october. and since then the case has been going down very dramatically. the big question is whether there's going to be a third wave. don't forget, we had a wave in april, october and november and now the question is, will we have a wave during the normal flu season, which traditionally begins just about now. >> is there any concern that swine flu and regular flu, if you were to get both strains of those flu, that it would be any worse than getting one or the other separately? >> no, it wouldn't be any worse except you'd get sick twice, and then -- >> stink. >> -- paired with all the problems that that carries. they pointed -- there are a group of federal officials walking in washington right now also point out there now have been 100 million doses of the swine flu vaccine available. and this lull is a good time to take advantage, they say, to get yourself vaccinated in case there is a third wave.
nobody knows if there will be, but it's very possible. or even if it comes back next year, this is a good time to start building up the immunity in your body against the future infection. >> bob, appreciate that. i know we're keeping a close eye on what the secretary has to say. thank you. new york senator charles schumer is apologizing today to a female flight attendant because he referred to with the "b" word, by the "b" word. you know what i'm talking about. i don't need to say it. the senator used the insult after the flight attendant ordered the senator to turn off his cell phone as the jet was waiting for flight takeoff. apparently he was sitting next to senator kirsten gillibrand as well, both on their cell phones. the flight attendant said will you shut off your phone? he said can i finish my call? she said no, sir, this is the report, no, sir, you can't. we're waiting on you to finish your call so that the plane can pull back. and he was upset by that and apparently he says under his breath, referred to her by the "b" word. but the thing is, he's a senator. and somebody heard him say that. and so, of course, it's been
widely reported. it was reported to politico, in fact. the senator has now tracked down the flight attendant by phone and apologized. coming up, tiger woods has already lost millions in sponsorships because of what he calls transgressions. but he's not the only one losing out on millions of dollars here. time for your business small business advice. here are tips on generating repeat business. create a loyalty program and reward frequent customers with discounts or special sales. keep in touch. follow up with people after the point of sale. and offer incentives to customers who refer your business to their friends. for more, watch "your business" sunday mornings at 7:30 on msnbc. if you've had a heart attack caused by a completely blocked artery, another heart attack could be lurking, waiting to strike. a heart attack caused by a clot, one that could be fatal. but plavix helps save lives. plavix taken with other heart medicines
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research shows that dancing is good for your heart. so is fish oil. nature made fish oil protects your heart, so you can dance great and live great every day. learn more at naturemade.com. nature made. fuel your greatness. welcome back to msnbc. doctors in brazil are preparing for an extremely delicate surgery. take a look at the x-ray picture. a 2-year-old boy has more than 40 sewing needles stuck inside his body. the boy's being airlifted to another hospital because two of the needles are, in fact, close to his heart. the boy's former stepfather was arrested in custody. he confessed to sticking needles in this child. he claims two women asked him to do it, possibly for a black magic ritual. here's some of the stories making news around the globe. the mexican navy is claiming a big victory in the drug war today. one of the country's most-wanted
drug lords was killed in a two-hour shootout. just south of mexico city. he was known as the boss of bosses. security forces in the philippines will forcibly evacuate thousands of residents near a major volcano that's about to erupt. 33,000 people have already been evacuated, but thousands are refusing to leave. lava and ash are spewing from the mayon volcano. officials believe it could erupt any day. heavy snow is causing major traffic problems in china this morning. it's been snowing there since tuesday, but cold temperatures are also creating problems. more than 7,000 trucks now are stranded over 18-mile stretch of highway because their fuel lines are frozen. new numbers out this morning on how americans feel about tiger woods. the new nbc/"wall street journal" poll finds 42% of those who responded view him negatively. only 15% view him positively. but there's more reason to hope here for tiger.
more people say they'll root for him when he plays his next golf tournament rather than say they'd root against him. nbc's peter alexander joins us in the studio today. another big number out today about the real financial impact for the game of golf. >> yeah. there have been a lot of estimates about exactly what this will cost tiger woods. perhaps his marriage and certainly millions in endorsements and other potential losses if he doesn't show up to tournaments. but another number that's been put out today is $220 million, contessa. that number is what the pga tour stands to lose, what television networks stand to lose and also what some of these merchandise vendors could conceivably lose including nike, his biggest sponsor, the one that pays him about $120 million over the course of six years. nike, according to this estimate, could lose more than $30 million as a result of this. the estimates from them say that crowds are expected to fall by 20% and television advertising could drop by as much as 40%. this wouldn't be the first time -- they have some basis for this -- in 2008 with the knee surgery on his knee, he was out for a long period of time, and the numbers were sliced in half
in places as a result of his absence. >> just hype thekthypotheticall, this is all money that potentially could be made, again, made back up once he starts playing. >> the appetite is plenty wet right now. i mean, it's drenched. these folks can't wait to see tiger anywhere. it's been 20 days since this happened, another seven days before that when he showed up with elin and their child out at stanford university. his action figures, toys 'r' us had been selling these. now in the last several weeks they've been sliced by one-third, down 33%. and not just that, but they're not in the front of the store where the popular toys are, they're way in back on the clearance rack. also another money's grooming product, this is weird, browsing through some of the reports listed, it's called lucky tiger. well, it has -- >> not so lucky. >> -- a different meaning. not so lucky or some guys are hoping it makes them feel lucky. that's what the product is
intended, give them better luck with the ladies. now this product is said when people are looking for tiger and they type in words they're finding this and all of a sudden their sales have gone -- >> always a silver lining. a suspected robber tries to elude police. cambridge, massachusetts, police say the guy on the roof robbed a bank yesterday, and the ink pack stained the suspect's pants. well, police closed in on the suspect and then he tried to escape the building by climbing out a window onto the roof. police had him surrounded and eventually were told he gave up. a dramatic shootout between a cop and a suspected gang member was caught on the dash cam from a state trooper's car in connecticut. the tape shows the trooper pulling over a taxi for speeding. when the trooper approached the driver, the passenger in the back seat started shooting with an assault rifle. both the trooper and the taxi driver ran for cover. officials say the suspect was eventually shot and killed by a sharpshooter after a tense standoff there with police. and take a look at this burning vehicle.
a tractor trailer rear-ended a jeep wrangler on a maryland highway. a female driver was trapped inside because her foot got stuck under the brake pedal. and she couldn't open the doors because they were crushed in. several people came to her rescue. despite the flames they dragged her out of the car. she's in the hospital now with serious injuries. but doctors are predicting she will make a full recovery. still ahead, an american father heading to brazil to be reunited with his 9-year-old son, but could this long-awaited reunion be delayed yet again? plus, we're following breaking news. nfl star chris henry, dead from injuries he sustained in what police describe as a domestic dispute. tossed from the back of a pickup. we'll get more details straight ahead. many arthritis pain relievers -- i just want fewer pills and relief that lasts all day. take 2 extra strength tylenol every 4 to 6 hours?!? taking 8 pills a day... and if i take it for 10 days -- that's 80 pills.
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a pickup truck yesterday during what police describe as a domestic dispute. apparently he had been arguing with his fiancee. and the reports that we're getting are that she jumped in the front cab of the pickup truck, started driving away. he jumped in the back of the pickup truck. and at some point was tossed out of the truck, fell out of the pickup truck and was taken to the hospital with grave injuries to which he has now succumbed. again, he had played for the cincinnati bengals as a receiver. but this year, just last month, in fact, broke his arm and was put on the injured list which effectively ended his season. eric flak of our affiliate wlwt in cincinnati is in charlotte now covering the story in north carolina. what more do you know, eric, about the story as it's developing now? >> well, just a sad story, you know, for chris henry and all of cincinnati and much of the nfl. you know, he died at 6:30 this morning. police say his injuries were life threatening from the beginning. i mean, the hospital has not
been releasing a whole lot of information, but it appears that he very well may have just been on life support as family from cincinnati made it here to charlotte to say good-bye. the couple was in charlotte planning their wedding. they raised three kids together, had just purchased wedding rings. and an uncle told me yesterday that there were really no signs of any domestic disputes in the past. and they think this is all just a result of a horrible accident. now, homicide investigators here in charlotte are looking into this case. but it's unclear if any charges are going to be filed. his fiancee has been cooperating with the investigation from the beginning and has actually been by his side at the hospital. ever since yesterday's accident. so this is just a sad story. >> he's engaged to loleini tonga who identifies herself as mrs. c. henry according to the
associated press. they were buying rings. she put up a post on her myspace page about buying rings on tuesday. tell us about his sports history. because it looks like he was in some trouble last year and actually stopped playing for the bengals for a while because of that trouble. >> at one point chris henry was the poster child for nfl bad boy. i mean, he was a player who came out of west virginia with a lot of talent and some big red flags as far as behavior problems. the cincinnati bengals took a chance on him. he was arrested something like five times in the course of two years. did a couple days in jail for drinking with underage girls. a number of different things. eventually got suspended from the nfl for a number of games, got kicked off the bengals and then given another chance by bengals' owner mike brown and had been making the most of that chance and had really been
walking the straight and narrow until this tragedy happened. >> eric, thank you very much. i know you're staying on top of the story. fed chairman ben bernanke's road to a second term is getting rough by the minute. the top republican on the senate banking committee, richard shelby, said less than an hour ago he will vote against bernanke's renomination. >> we talk a good game when it comes to accountability, but we rarely match our own rhetoric with action. in this instance, i believe we must not only express our disapproval of this particular nominee, but we should also signal future nominees that we have expectations and that those expectations should be met. >> the committee vote today is only the first step in this process. if bernanke gets through the committee as he's expected to do, he still has to secure the 60 full votes from the senate in order to get another term. cnbc's steve liesman joins us now. when senator shelby is talking about expectations, can you be specific? what expectations has bernanke not met? >> well, i mean, as far as the
republican ranking member is concerned, i think it's having the transparency that's out there relative to how much the fed explained about what it was doing and disclosed about what it was doing. along with, i think, what happened to the t.a.r.p. money. there was that issue that was -- henry paulson came to the congress and asked for the money to buy toxic assets. they end up injecting that money into the banks instead of buying toxic assets. so a lot of feeling that both the fed and the treasury have mishandled the bailout of the banks, contessa. i will tell you that there was a little bit more drama after that shelby drama which you led with which is that democratic senator jack reed became the second democratic senator on the committee to declare no. so let me tell you what our count is at the moment. we have 11 in favor on the committee, six opposed and six undeclared at this moment. so he is one vote shy right now of being able to pass committee. and even when he does, you're right, he needs 60 votes in the
senate. there are three senators, contes contessa, who have a hold on bernanke. this is interesting. we think he gets out of committee, but what happens on the senate floor remains unclear. >> steve, happening on a day following "time" magazine's declaration that he's man of the year. we'll stay on top of this. thanks. the house of representatives is wrapping things up before the end of the year. it pushed through a last-minute flurry of legislation yesterday. $636 billion pentagon bill. a short-term increase in the nation's debt limit. an extension of unemployment and health benefits for millions of americans who have a job and a $150 billion job creation bill. in copenhagen, secretary of state hillary clinton announced the u.s. will lead an effort to raise $100 billion to help the world's poorest countries fight global warming. the hope is it will give those countries a stake in climate talks and help pave the way to a deal before the summit ends. >> -- we have left here. it can no longer be about us
versus them. this group of nations pitted against that group. we all face the same challenge together. joining me from copenhagen, democrat ed markey, co-author of the climate legislation that's passed the house. it's good to see you today, congressman. >> thank you. thank you for having me on. >> when senator clinton is talking about it can no longer be us versus them, the developing nations of the world certainly see it that way. do you think that all nations should be held to the same standard? for instance, should china have to declare in writing what it intends to do on carbon emissions? >> well, the announcement by secretary clinton today is something that goes a long way towards dealing with the concerns which the developing nations of the world had here in copenhagen. and this commitment to work with other developed nations to raise
the $100 billion that would help to developing the world, i think, will go a long way towards healing any of the rifts that existed here in copenhagen thus far this week. and i think it was a huge step forward. on the second issue, it will be important for china to provide the transparency for other commitments for which they are making. each country must do its fair share in order to solve this problem. and it's important if china is going to make commitments, that it be possible for the rest of the world to make sure that it is honoring them. and that's all that's really in question here. and i believe that ultimately we will be able to resolve that issue as well. and reach a successful conclusion to this summit. >> although, congressman, that's one of the issues that was a sticking point in the kyoto treaty because you would not get -- back then in kyoto -- you did not get these developing nations promising to sign on in
written language that they would cut their emissions. and now here we are back in copenhagen. and the same thing is happening. china saying, look, we are going to cut emissions. we're just not going to sign the letter -- we're going to do it in spirit, not in letter. you're not going to get from us a signature saying that we promise to do it. the u.s. is insisting on that. if you walk away from the summit without written agreements from these countries, will this be a failure? >> well, you already heard what secretary clinton said about that subject. i believe that that was a concern that the developing nations had as well. what we just did with this $100 billion commitment from all developed countries, i think it's going to help to lead that one remaining issue, the issue of transparency as the sticking point. and i believe that the world is coming together right now and will be saying to china that we
really want you, along with the united states, to be the leader, giving us all hope that we can solve this problem. >> okay. >> so i think we're going to have a success. it's still two more days. the leaders of the world are still arriving here in town led by president obama. when it reaches that level, i think an agreement will be reached. >> let me ask you, because yesterday on the front page of "the wall street journal," there was a big article about how china is a leader, actually, in some of this green technology. that because of their technical innovations, they're driving down the prices for ecofriendly technology. do we really want china to be the leader, or are we missing the boat? is the united states missing the boat on developing these exportable technologies, stuff that will give americans jobs and bring money back here to home? are we missing the boat on that front? >> well, right now our viewers know better than any other americans that one-half of america's trade deficit is importing oil. one-half of our trade deficit.
and we send that money to opec. we send that money to other countries. we really shouldn't be sending it to. the question for america right now is, we should -- are we going to commit ourselves to breaking our dependent on imported oil by unleashing a technological revolution in america? because if we don't, all we're going to do is substitute made by opec with made in china. because as you point out, they're becoming the world ae's leader on wind, solar, geothermal, on all of these technologies that ultimately are going to be exported to every other country in the world. so this is our challenge. and if we do it right, we not only will back out the imported oil, but we'll create 2 million new jobs within our own country as the leading new manufacturing sect sector. >> yeah, i'd like to see american's brain and muscle put to work on that front. congressman, thank you for your time. >> thank you for having me on. governor mark sanford was spared from impeachment once
again. lawmakers voted to censure the republican governor for bringing ridicule, dishonor, disgrace and shame to the state. he came under scrutiny because of that secret trip to see his mistress in argentinargentina. nobody knew where he was. remember that last summer? and his use of state planes. while the scathing reprimand will have no impact on sanford's ability to do his job, then, for the next 13 months. a new jersey dad is facing legal challenges even as he flies to rio de janeiro hoping to reunite with his 9-year-old son. a federal court in brazil ruled in favor of david goldman, aw d awarding him custody of his son, sean, after a 5 1/2-year fight. in 2004 goldman's then wife took the boy on vacation with her two -- her native brazil and never came back. when she died, the boy's stepfather and his family fought to retain custody. >> we're not talking about an artifact that they found in a border of two countries that they're fighting over. we're talking about the precious life of a child.
and every day that you miss in that life is a day you'll never be able to recover. >> goldman's attorney warns a supreme court appeal in brazil is likely, and the actual reunion may be delayed until next year depending on what the courts decide to do. up next, majority leader harry reid hoping for a christmas miracle, trying to get a health care bill passed in time for the holiday. we'll head to capitol hill for the very latest. plus, why one health expert says good old saint nick is a bad role model for your kids.
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payments for nursing facilities, services as the board determines to be more consistent -- >> well, after three hours, even senator sanders said, forget it. he withdrew his amendment and then vented his frustration. >> people could have disagreements. but in this moment of crisis, it is wrong to bring the united states government to a halt. >> kelly o'donnell is on capitol hill today. you know, that's one way to get senators, though, to be less wordy when they're writing their amendments, right? >> reporter: well, one of the issues, contessa, is that the amendments are in a text form. they're written out. they have been worked on for quite a long time. but the bill that everyone's actually waiting to see has not been made available to members of the senate, certainly not to the public yet, and that is the form of the bill that majority leader harry reid has been working on and includes some of the changes that have been the product of these recent negotiations and conversations. that's where we would see, for example, the public option
disappear or the medicare at 55 plus disappear. so that version is not yet available to anyone. and the score that we so often talk about which is the assessment of what it would cost, how it would affect the deficit, that has not been provided to us yet either, although we know the senate leadership is working on it piece by piece with the congressional budget office to get some numbers. so part of why republicans wanted to get that out there is to make the point that you can read amendments, but you can't read the actual bill at the moment. so it's part of the procedural fight which is always good political theater. and it usually reflects some underlying issues that are really kind of at the nerve center. and right now we're getting close to crunch time. so everybody's out of their seats shouting a little more loudly and trying to fire up their sides. we saw this morning, contessa, that david axelrod, senior adviser to the president, was trying to bring the more progressive side of the democratic party on board when he was talking to our friends at "morning joe." >> the progressives who say kill
this bill now. >> i think that would be a tragic, tragic outcome. we're on the verge of doing something that would make an enormously positive difference. >> reporter: i guess that was it. i thought it was going to go a little longer there. okay, great. well, you know what mr. axelr axelrod's trying to do. he wants to bring the more liberal side of the party on board. of course, they're trying to keep the moderates in line and make negotiations that would help them to make a vote for harry reid's bill. so that's where we are. we're going to watch this incrementally. those of us, contessa, we've talked about how we love to look at this through a microscope and will have all of the moving parts and sweeping details as well when we actually know more of what will be in this perhaps today. maybe we'll get the score today. >> at this point it's feeling like the whole process deserves more college class than a few minutes here on cable news. kelly, thanks. >> good to see you, contessa. here are some of the other stories making headlines now. we just learned nfl star chris henry has died from injuries.
he was killed in what police are calling a domestic dispute, tossed out of the back of a pickup truck. police say he was arguing with his fiancee, jumped in as she was driving away from the residence. he was rushed to the hospital yesterday after he was found on the road. police in utah say they suspect foul play in the disappearance of a mother of two. susan powell was reported missing december 7th. norths are growing suspicious of her husband because they say he is not cooperating. it's an unusual lack of cooperation. that's how they put it. a quick weather update here at the national weather service in blacksburg, virginia, has issued a winter storm watch in effect for friday morning, tomorrow morning, through saturday evening. the forecast calls for heavy snow and low visibility. nbc meteorologist bill karins is here with more. >> contessa, this is the first really difficult forecast of the winter season. anytime you get a snowstorm in the mid-atlantic, you get problems with the warm ocean water. there's a lot of variables, in the mountains, too. let me take you through the bottom line. the storm is forming in the gulf of mexico. that is eventually going to work
its way up the east coast. here's the time line on it. watch the blue on the map is the snow. the green and then the yellow and the red, that's the rain. notice by 6:00 tomorrow evening, our computers are showing snow from roanoke to charlotte all through western virginia and western portions of north carolina. then heavy snow by 7:00 saturday morning right through the mid-atlantic, maybe even shifting from rain to sleet to snow in raleigh, back up through richmond, d.c. one thing you will notice, this storm does not hug up the coast. it does not look like a big event from new york to boston northwards. this is just our computer forecast. it's showing a chance for 6 to 12 inches in a wide area. probably one of the most significant snow events for the mid-atlantic in a couple years. >> bill, thanks. it's christmas on the high seas. the newport harbor in southern california is really showing it. last night was the 101st annual newport beach christmas boat parade. boats of all sizes decked out in christmas lights and decorations. the boats stretched out for 14 miles.
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italian prime minister berlusconi left a milan hospital today, four days after an attack that left him with a broken nose and broken teeth. berlusconi waved to reporters from the window of his limousine. his nose covered in bandages. a 42-year-old, the man who attacked the prime minister, as he signed autographs is under arrest in a milan prison. mike taiibi has more. >> he still needs a couple weeks of recuperation. he had planned to be in copenhagen to join climate talks. he left that hospital in milan after barely acknowledging the reporters who had been standing by for days and headed directly to his villa on the outskirts of the city to continue his recuperation. his face, as you say, remained bandaged. and doctors say he's still
having trouble eating because of those injuries you mentioned. also, he was injured with some facial lacerations that required a number of stitches. he had been attacked during a political rally sunday when he was in a crowd of supporters. and then that 42-year-old man you named with a ten-year history of psychological problems tossed a small, heavy plaster statuette of the prime minister which struck him smack in the face. berlusconi later said it could have been worse. a miracle, he said, he didn't lose an eye, but his injuries were bad enough doctors say he'll need two more weeks of restricted activity in order to heal properly. he's on the mend, not going to copenhagen. contessa? >> thanks so much, mike. is santa a bad role model? an australian health expert says santa's frequent cookie eating, occasional cigar -- he doesn't smoke cigars. come on, folks. he smokes pipes. his refusal to wear a helmet during extreme sports such as chimney jumping or sleigh riding make him a reckless role model. nathan brils also says santa
needs to lose some of his belly jelly by trading in his sleigh for a bicycle or maybe just walking to all those millions of children around the world. oh, wait, there's more. he also says santa is a one-man germ incubator, that he could spread viruses such as swine flu to all those kids who sit on his lap. what a bah humbug there. on that note, that does it for me this hour. i'm back here at 2:00. i'm contessa brewer. tamryn hall picks things up at the top of the hour. [ telephone rings ] pepto-bismol. nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, and diarrhea.
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we've got breaking news for you. cincinnati bengals' wide receiver chris henry has died after suffering critical injuries in an overnight accident. police described as a domestic dispute with his fiancee. bengals' head coach marvin lewis is expected to speak any minute about the team's sudden and tragic loss. and person of interest. more than a week after she vanished without a trace, police have named the husband of a
missing utah mom, susan powell, as a person of interest in his wife's disappearance. plus, for the first time since taking office, president obama's job approval plummets below 50% as americans weigh in on the fight over health care and his strategy for afghanistan. plus, hacked attacks. iraqi insurgents find a new weapon against u.s. forces by hacking into a live video feed of u.s. drones. how can it happen and what is the military doing to make sure it doesn't continue? we began with that breaking news out of north carolina. 26-year-old cincinnati bengals' wide receiver chris henry has died. charlotte police say henry fell off the back of a pickup truck during a fight with his fiancee yesterday. henry was found in the road about a half mile away from his home and rushed to the hospital. eric flack from wlwt has the latest. >> well, just a sad story, you know, for chris henry and all of cincinnati and much of the nfl. you know, he died at 6:30 this
morning. police say his injuries were life threatening from the beginning. i mean, the hospital has not been releasing a whole lot of information, but it appears that he very well may have just been on life support as family from cincinnati made it here to charlotte to say good-bye. the couple was in charlotte planning their wedding. they raised three kids together, had just purchased wedding rings. and an uncle told me yesterday that there were really no signs of any domestic disputes in the past. they think this is all just a result of a horrible accident. now, homicide investigators here in charlotte are looking into this case. but it's unclear if any charges are going to be filed. his fiancee has been cooperating with the investigation from the beginning and has actually been by his side at the hospital ever since yesterday's accident. so this is just a sad story. >> it certainly is. all right, thank you very much,